US to destabilize Syria and Challenge Astana talks: Expert

TEHRAN, Apr. 12 (MNA) –Filip Kovacevic, professor of geopolitics is of the opinion that the US is not going to leave Syria just tries to destabilize the country and challenge Astana talks.

Trump has been the most rhetorically bellicose commanders in chief in modern American history since he took office 15 month ago, but at the same time he has been very cautious when it comes to using force.

The last couple of weeks could be seen as a major turning point in his presidency. In selecting John Bolton as his new national security adviser and Mike Pompeo as his secretary of state, Trump two the most hawkish Republicans in Washington.

To shed more light on the issue we reached out to Dr. Filip Kovacevic, professor of geopolitics, University of San Francisco, California.

Following is the full text of interview with him:

Recently there have been some changes to Trump administration. During last 15 month since Trump came to power Mr. Bolton is his third national security advisor. What are the main reasons behind so many unusual changes?

The U.S. president Donald Trump is applying his business model to the U.S. government. He fires all those he disagrees with. He is surrounding himself with those who will praise his every word and support any decision he makes. Trump has always been extremely nationalistic and militaristic in his views and now he is assembling a team that is ready to be loyal to him in his future war projects. John Bolton is known as one of the most hawkish U.S. diplomats. Trump needs him because he plans to disrupt and de-construct the present world order and this will lead to serious confrontation with other global players, both allies and opponents. The U.S. under Trump is becoming a rogue state.

Will these changes affect the US foreign policy toward the EU? Will these changes lessen the differences between two sides on some issues like differences between Germany and US over NATO?

The U.S. has taken a nationalist turn and will no longer service the concerns of other countries. Trump wants to make European states pay for NATO at the level of 2 percent of the GDP. I think they will have no choice but to do that. However, the citizens of these countries will oppose such measures and we are likely to see the rise of the anti-U.S. sentiments across Europe. This will be beneficial to those political forces that advocate the lifting of economic sanctions against Russia. In many ways, Trump’s arrogant stance toward Europe works in Putin’s favor.

I expect the differences between Germany and the U.S. to grow, especially regarding the issue of Russian natural gas. The U.S. wants to make Germany purchase its (liquefied) gas, but this will be more expensive for the German businesses. The anti-U.S. sentiment will grow in Germany and will be reflected in the results of the next parliamentary elections. The radical conservative forces will grow in strength and there will be talk of the re-animation of the German empire. In fact, nationalism will gain the upper hand in many European states and this will threaten the existence of the EU itself.

Will these changes affect the US policy in Syria?

The U.S. is not about to leave Syria. It will continue helping the anti-Assad Syrian opposition and the Kurdish forces. Most of this work will be done covertly. Syria will be destabilized for many years to come. The Astana peace process will face serious challenges from the U.S. and its allies.

It is said the new Trump team will increase the pressure on Tehran at the same time the US is putting more and more pressure on Russia under different excuses. Can this affect Tehran-Moscow regional and economic cooperation?

I think one of the main reasons Trump is making overtures to Putin is the fact that he knows that he can’t do anything militarily against Iran while Iran and Russia are on the same geopolitical side. Trump wants to convince Putin not to continue supporting Iran. He might offer Putin a “sweetheart deal” regarding Ukraine and Moldova, which are much important to Russia than Iran. We’ll see what Putin does.

There is no reason for Putin to trust Trump, but there is a tendency of the Russian leaders’ falling for the promises of the West, which are later broken. Consider, for instance, Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin and the issue of NATO expansion. According to declassified documents, the then-U.S. Secretary of State James Baker promised to Gorbachev “not an inch eastward,” and now NATO is on the Russian borders and St. Petersburg is in the range of NATO artillery.

Will Trump’s new changes pave the way for cancellation of the JCPOA?

I think so. Trump’s nominee for the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (if approved by the Senate) is one of the most anti-Iranian U.S. politicians active today. In his new position, he will exponentially increase the U.S anti-Iranian diplomacy and covert operations, which are also wholeheartedly supported by John Bolton. As I see it, these individuals are seriously preparing to fight a war against Iran.

Interview by Lachin Rezaian

News Code 133330

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